Messenger Awards for Best in African American Media

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With polls showing the American public expressing diminishing trust in the fairness and objectivity of the so-called mainstream media, reliance upon ethnic news organizations for solid, factual and substantive news is stronger than ever, and on the rise. This is not merely because of current events, but owing also to their time-honored pursuit of editorial excellence, which historically has been unwavering.This is especially true of the Black press in the U.S., which for nearly 200 years now has held steadfastly to its credo.

As it proudly approaches its bicentennial, African American newspaper editors, publishers, reporters and production artists from all across the country recently convened in New Orleans, Louisiana, the birthplace of the first Black daily newspaper, to honor their own. The A. Philip Randolph (APR) Messenger Awards, sponsored for 13 years now by Miller Brewing Co., each year honor progressive journalistic achievement among member editors and writers of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and the recently named 2003 winners reflect that passion for excellence. The prestigious awards were named after Randolph, the noted civil rights figure and pioneering newspaperman who published The Messenger newspaper beginning in 1917. "It is the distinct voice and viewpoint found solely in the Black press that many African Americans regularly read, support and respect," said Larry Waters, Director of the Sales Communications Group for Miller Brewing Co. "Miller is proud to continue its commitment to the APR Messenger Awards, and to the African American journalism tradition that is its hallmark." Sonceria Messiah-Jiles, NNPA chair and publisher of The Houston Defender, spoke about the importance of Black-owned media outlets.

"This year’s Messenger Awardees, through their exemplary works, have achieved exactly what the name implies," she stated. "They are sending a message-one of truth, balance and of genuine concern about accurate depictions of Africans and African Americans in media. We applaud the fact that these professionals remain stalwart in their efforts, and are nurturing the coming generations of journalists to carry the mantle forward."

The 2003 APR Messenger Award winners include: The Community Times (South Carolina) in the category of Education News for "I’m Not Going To Die"; The Black Voice (Texas) for the Education Editorial/Commentary, "Black History Should Be Observed All Year"; The Daily Challenge (New York) for "Africa Needs Black Business" in Civil Rights News and The Philadelphia Tribune in the category of Civil Rights Editorial/Commentary, for "FBI Raids Here Just ‘Business As Usual.’"

The Messenger Awards were enhanced this year to provide a higher level of monetary  recognition for journalists and newspapers. In addition to their awards, journalists in the sub-category of best overall editorial/commentary received $750, while the corresponding newspapers received $500 for non-profit organizations. Journalists in the sub-category of best overall news story took home $1,500 and the corresponding newspapers were given $1,000 for non-profit organizations. The Messenger Awards were presented at a special luncheon where tenured Dillard University journalism professor Jinx Broussard, author of "Giving Voice To the Voiceless: Four Pioneering Women Journalists," was the guest speaker.

Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of SABMiller plc, the World’s second largest brewer. Principal beer brands include Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, and Miller High Life. More information is available at

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